Anyone who's on or been on the Ketogenic or Keto diet will already know that processed carbs are the enemy. Included in that category is of course: pasta. So are those on Keto doomed to a noodle-free existence for the rest of their Keto lives? I'm here to say that as someone who's been on Keto for almost a year, I can say there are plenty of excellent pasta alternatives available that will deliver the taste and texture you're looking for.
For those who may not know what Keto is, it's a low carb/ high fat diet or lifestyle that puts the body in a natural state called Ketosis. Under normal circumstances the body will use carbs and sugars for energy. When your body is in ketosis, it will burn fat for energy and in doing so, release little packets of highly efficient energy called ketones. Running of ketones not only burns fat and causes healthy weight loss, but is a catalyst for a plethora of other health benefits. There's obviously a lot more information about ketosis which we won't go over here. I'm assuming if you're on this page, you know what Keto is. Nonetheless, if you'd like to learn more, I recommend checking out this article by Healthline. Like many others who've made the jump into Ketosis, I've never felt better in my entire life. This is one of those “diets” that forces you to buy a specific product. It's actually just a diet that includes eating “real” food while drastically reducing your carbohydrate and sugar intake. I'd also highly recommend two doctors that have been instrumental in my Keto Journey (Dr. Ken Barry and Dr. Jason Fung).
For most of my 40-year life lifespan, I was a very big fan of pasta. I felt like pasta was an essential part of life….like coffee or oxygen. This mindset was illustrated by my previously unhealthy ability to eat 4-6 servings of pasta in one sitting. The thought of pasta alternatives for Keto didn't grab me at first as I was still dealing with the idea of not having spaghetti or Pho (Vietnamese Noodle Soup.) However, after doing some research and consulting other Keto practitioners, I discovered there were a wealth of pasta alternatives or keto-friendly noodles. Many of you will know that pasta's appeal is less in its taste and more in its texture. With the pasta alternatives listed below, you'll be able to enjoy both without knocking you out of Keto.
I discovered Miracle Noodles while at the organic grocery store in town. These noodles are technically Shiratake Noodles made from the Konjac root. It has virtually no carbs (1g) and is sugar and gluten-free. In short, these noodles are excellent and have been a wonderfully good-tasting pasta alternative for me. The one thing to note about Shiratake noodles is that they have a slight odor when you first open them that may seen fishy. Admittedly, it was a little surprising since I didn't actually read the instructions which mention it. But simply give them a quick rinse and you'll be good to go. Fortunately, none of the residual odor makes its way into the flavor. One great thing about these noodles is that they come in different varieties of angel hair pasta, fettuccine, spaghetti and even rice.
Thrive Market, which an excellent place to shop if you're on a specialty diet or just looking to eat healthy, has their own version of the zero calorie Shiritake noodle. They are a little more cost-effective than Miracle noodle and equally tasty. When I ordered some from Thrive, I was thoroughly impressed by just how well they reproduced the typical “pasta taste and texture”. These noodles sell for $1.99 if you are a Thrive member. Truthfully, as someone on Keto, Thrive is one of my go-to stores. They charge a $60 yearly membership but I can personally attest that you can earn that back with savings alone from your first two purchases. As an added bonus, they send you a free gift every time you spend over $50. My last order scored me some extra virgin oil worth $25.
Another excellent pasta alternative for those on a keto or low carb diet can be found in Konjac noodles. I personally really enjoy them as they deliver a chewy-like texture that satisfies my pasta craving in full. The only ingredients found in these noodles are Konjac flour, water, and citric acid. Konjac flour contains the water soluble dietary fibre called Glucomannan. Studies have shown that this particular fibre fills the stomach and slows the digestion process which in turn helps to curb hunger urges. Unlike other pasta alternatives, these noodles have no odor. Konjac noodles given both their texture and lack of taste are one of my favorite zero carb pastas and are a staple in my keto diet which is going on 3 years.
I discovered Sea Tangle Kelp Noodles at the local organic market as well and found them to be a similarly excellent pasta alternative. In my opinion, the texture of Kelp Noodles is more rubbery than many of the other options. But as someone who favors calamari, I had no problems with the texture 🙂 At 3g of carbs these Kelp Noodles have a slightly higher carb count than the previous options. These can be bought at your local store but I was very excited to see I could buy it at a discount from Thrive.
I have no doubt that as I continue this Keto lifestyle, I'll be coming across plenty of additional pasta alternatives which I'll happily share here. But for now, these 4 options are more than enough for me and as an ex-pasta addict, that's saying a whole lot. Now I can enjoy a pasta-like experience without having to fight the food coma afterwards! It's literally like the best of both worlds.
Contrary to what many non-Keto practitioners believe, you don't have to suffer through Keto. There are plenty of options out there to give your taste buds the stimulation they need and deserve. Here's a perfect example . Coffee. I'm a coffee lover but I can't say that my palette is anywhere nearly as refined as many of the connoisseurs out there. During my Keto journey, I discover a thing called Keto coffee. For those who may not already know, black coffee (no cream or sugar) is already Keto-friendly since it contains virtually no carbs. On the other hand, Keto coffee is specifically designed for those with Keto-based goals. This coffee contains two key ingredients that make this possible.
- MCT Oil is associated with a wide array of health benefits, many of which I've personally experienced. There's one that's affected me the most and that's #2 on this list which is basically making energy more readily available for the brain thereby improving cognitive function.
- Organic Coconut Oil Powder has an equally long list of health benefits. This only makes sense because coconut oil is largely made up of MCT oil. It's a powerful and proven antioxidant that also assists with weight loss and cognitive function.
I won't go into too much detail about here since I'm already off-topic, but there's an incredibly good-tasting and satisfying keto coffee made by Kiss My Keto. I bolded the word “satisfying” because it's connected to the word “satiated”. This keto coffee makes you feel satiated which is exactly what you want whether you're in Ketosis or not. The coffee is extremely effective in this regard. But to be totally honest, I drink it primarily for its rich delicious flavor. I have no idea how they formulated such a drinkable luxury while remaining so Keto-friendly (2g of net carbs.) Feel free to check out my full Kiss My Keto coffee review for more information.
So in bringing this full-circle, shortly after I discovered these Keto-friendly pasta alternatives, I came across Keto-coffee which more than filled the void of being unable to drink a sugar-filled coffee brew in the morning. The Keto life has honestly been one of the best decisions of my life. Part of the excitement of this journey is coming across new foods and drinks that will offer new and frequently better experiences.
I'll keep this article update as I come across new Keto-friendly products.